Somewhat Less Confusion

I called the admissions office of the school I’m planning on applying to, and she said that as long as I have the FAFSA in it should be fine for the spring semester. Hopefully she’s right, I’d hate to lose out on a bunch of aid money.
I don’t know when I’ll be able to finish the application so right now there’s nothing for me to do but wait and keep looking for other sources of funds. I’m taking a little break from it right now.  I’m actually developing a huge callus on my elbow from leaning on my desk staring at my computer. I call it my college search injury.
I’m also considering whether or not I should get a job over the winter. My summer earnings will last quite a while, but besides just that I’m looking into companies that offer employee tuition benefits. Costco is at the top of my list right now, it’s supposed to be a great place to work plus I’m actually qualified for it. The problem though is that I’ll have field schools to attend and those last a month or two. I don’t know if I’d be able to get that off of work or not. I don’t know if I’ll be able to do a field school the first year anyway, so there’s no point in worrying about it now. It’s all just going to have to wait until I get a better idea of my financial situation, but I hate waiting, it makes me twitchy.

Utter Confusion

My current plan is to start school in the winter semester.  That will allow me to fulfill the contract on my summer job and give me plenty of time to move to a new city, get settled in, get all the t’s crossed & i’s dotted, generally make sure all the pieces are in place before I start classes.  I was going to apply today, but they won’t let me yet.  The only choices on the application are summer or fall.  That wouldn’t matter, I could wait to apply, except that they want my FAFSA by March 1st.  So I did the FAFSA, but they can’t add it to an application that I can’t put in.  So now what?  Should I put fall on my application and change it to winter if I get in?  What if I have to pay a deposit before I can change it?  The deposit doesn’t change to a new semester.  I have no idea when the winter applications will be available.  I emailed the school but they haven’t gotten back to me yet and even when they do I have no idea if the information will be useful.  Half the time when I email an entity like that I get back a cut-and-paste answer with things I already know.

The Scholarship Search

Searching for scholarships makes me feel old. They’re all for high school students, nobody wants to give money to someone my age. I’ve discovered a handful of random scholarships that allow adult entrants, and believe me I’ve entered them all, but I still feel like the opportunities are significantly narrowed for those of us in the non-traditional age group.  I have all of the “why didn’t I do this before???” thoughts of course, but there’s nothing I can do about that, I just have to move forward with what I have right now.

I’m also starting to realize that the search really is a skill you have to develop. What started off as a totally overwhelming endeavor has slowly become more manageable as I’ve learned to spot patterns and narrow the search by interests, memberships, or other traits. The ones I’ve found that need some sort of essay want to know why I want their money and have all gotten modifications of my first blog post so that wasn’t hard. For me it’s really just a matter of working on it when I have positive energy to focus, and giving it up for the day once I start to feel like it’s an impossible task. Easier said than done, I really do need to retrain my thought processes and remember that it’s OK to take a break from it.

The College Search Begins…

One of the great mysteries of my life has always been this: how does anybody ever decide which college to go to? Good God, there’s so many options, how do you narrow it down? It’s a skill in and of itself, figuring out which schools offer the kind of program that fits your interests. In high school I felt like everybody around me knew not only exactly what they wanted, but exactly how to get there. Admittedly I don’t know how that worked out for them, but still, how does anybody know these things at 17?

I thought I knew what I wanted, but it hasn’t really worked for me. I ended up with two Associate’s degrees from a community college and while they’ve been useful, I’ve found that my profession really needs to be more of a hobby, or side money at best.  I’d thought about going back to school, in fact always felt I’d missed out on something by not attending a university, but when it came to what to study….big ol’ blank space.

Then God hit me with an epiphany: archaeology. I love history almost to the point of being depressed that I can’t experience it, I like working outside, I’ve always loved playing in the dirt. I desperately want to travel and gain a real understanding of new places.

So here I am, almost ten years out of high school, and five away from my last round of college classes, trying to figure out not only what school to attend, but also how to snag some scholarships and grants to pay for it.  I’ll do my best to record my endeavors, hopefully to tell you all about what I’m learning in school, and eventually (!) what I’m working on in the field.

(I’d like to take a moment before I leave to wonder how exactly a loan came to be considered aid? Money that you have to give back isn’t all that helpful….)